Thank you for your interest in playing my piece Playing Outside. It is an unprecedented composition in conception, location, and execution. It is not concert music, but it is written for concert musicians to play.
Description of Piece
Playing Outside lasts 100 minutes and has over thirty-five musical sections played in ten locations in Webster Park in Webster, New York. However, you will only play in perhaps seven of them. A section may last from 1 to 11 minutes and will start exactly at the beginning of a minute.
You will play in one section then pack up your instrument and accessories and walk to another location, play there, and so forth until the end of the piece where all the players end up at the field and perform the last section called "Cadenza on the Field."
You will need to learn the simple notations used in the piece, many of which involve various forms of improvisation. Four players are designated improvisors and have much more musical freedom and responsibility than the rest. Many of the sections with larger ensembles will be conducted. Others will be played by cueing from one instrument to another, which will be worked out in rehearsal.
We will play two performances on Sunday, September 30, 2001 from 1:30 to 3:10 and from 4:30 to 6:10 p.m. Transportation between Eastman and Webster Park and refreshments will be provided. We may have some dress rehearsals of selected sections at the park on Saturday, September 29. (A rain date of October 7th, the next Sunday, is set.)
What you will need (beside your instrument)
1) A digital or clockface wrist-watch. These will be synchronized before each performance. The watches will not have to be followed exactly during actual performance; there will be a conductor or cues to carry the music forward and make it fit its temporal place in the piece. The watches are to make sure the players get to the their sections in enough time to set up and be ready to play.
2) Your instrument carrying case.
3) A portable music stand or one mounted on your instrument.
4) A back pack to carry stands, mutes, music, etc. Percussionists will keep hand-held percussion instruments with beaters in their back packs. Ringing instruments will be strung so they can be suspended from one's hand or from a nearby tree branch.
5) A pitch pipe, if you are a singer.
6) A secure music folder (in the backpack) with a paper weight (and/or clothespins and paper clips or clipboards) to hold down music in windy environments.
7) "Concert dress" is informal, determined by the temperature and amount of sunlight. Wear what you would if you were taking a walk in the park.
8) A few sections involve playing while you walk. Brass and woodwind players can use music lyres attached to their instruments.
9) If you decide to play in my piece, you will be given a "selfphrase." This will be a short musical phrase that identifies you uniquely from the other players. If you like, you can compose your own selfphrase, but it must be approved by me.
Special logistic considerations
Large percussion will be housed within Mohawk cabin (location D) and played only at that location.
The gamelan ensemble will set up at Mohawk cabin (D) and later march, playing their instruments, to Onondaga cabin (E) in the middle of the piece. (They will need to move the ensemble back to Mohawk cabin between the two performances.)
The electric guitar will be played only at Catteragous cabin (Location J). The amp will be powered by electricity obtained from within the cabin.
The two keyboards will have to be portable, powered by batteries.
Cellists will sit on logs or stumps found at their locations.
Important Notes on Performance Decorum
Playing Outside is not only a succession of musical sections. It is an integrated whole and includes all the activities you perform during its duration of 100 minutes: playing, setting up before a section and breaking down afterwards, walking to the next section, and so forth. If you are interested in my conception of this piece read the essay entitled "What About Playing Outside?"
The audience is not only composed of the people who will come to hear the piece, but the park itself--the land, the streams, the trees, the sky, as well as the other players, yourself and your instrument. There is really no distinction between the performer, environment, and listener.
All your activities should be marked by poise and clarity of purpose. Please do not talk often. No doodling on your instruments and a minimum of tuning up before and after playing.
In sum, this piece is practice and performance at once. Performance as in ritual; practice as in medical "practice", or in "'practice' what you preach."
site last updated:
Wednesday, September 19, 2001